Controversy Over Khalil Gibran Academy and Debbie Almontaser - updated 3/12/10

Controversy Over Khalil Gibran Academy and Debbie Almontaser

compiled by Sheila Musaji

First published 8/11/05 - last updated 3/12/10
updates at top of page

Brief Timeline of KGIA Controversy http://kgia.wordpress.com/background-what-happened/
Communities in Support of KGIA http://kgia.wordpress.com/
Khalil Gibran International Academy - school website http://www.kgiany.org/
Legal documents regarding the KGIA case http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/a/debbie_almontaser/index.html?inline=nyt-per
Wikipedia entry on KGIA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalil_Gibran_International_Academy


UPDATE 3/12/2010

NEW YORK, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/—The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today welcomed a determination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that city officials discriminated against Debbie Almontaser “on account of her race, religion and national origin” by removing her as interim principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in 2007 and disqualifying her for the permanent position as principal of that Arabic language school.

In a letter issued Tuesday, the EEOC stated that the Department of Education (DOE) “succumbed to the very bias that creation of the school was intended to dispel and a small segment of the public succeeded in imposing its prejudices on D.O.E. as an employer.”

SEE: Federal Panel Finds Bias in Ouster of Principal (NY Times) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/nyregion/13principal.html

“This preliminary victory is a strong rebuke to the vocal, agenda-driven minority that seeks to marginalize the American Muslim and Arab-American communities,” said CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif. “We call on the Department of Education to reinstate Ms. Almontaser or place her in a comparable position.”


UPDATE 8/27/07

CRITIC OF NY ARABIC SCHOOL ACCUSED OF ANTI-SEMITISM
‘Stop the Madrassa’ leader David Yerushalmi also linked to controversial PBS program on Islam

(NEW YORK, NY, 8/27/07) - The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today called on a group opposed to an Arabic language public school in New York to purge its ranks of racists and extremists after revelations of a key leader’s apparent anti-Semitic views.

The Jewish Week newspaper reports that David Yerushalmi, an advisory board member and counsel of the “Stop the Madrassa” group, has condemned democracy in the United States and, “in comments that evoke classical anti-Semitic stereotypes, says he finds truth in the view that Jews ‘destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite.’” (“Stop the Madrassa” is fighting to keep the Khalil Gibran International Academy from opening September 4.)

SEE: Tables Turn On Arab School Critics (The Jewish Week)

In June, CAIR called on the producers of a PBS-sponsored documentary on “moderate Muslims” to repudiate their alleged ties to another group headed by Yerushalmi that advocates imposing prison terms for “adherence to Islam” and that questions whether women and African-Americans should be allowed to vote.

Yerushalmi, the president and founder of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), published an online article in which he claims to be the attorney for Frank Gaffney, Alex Alexiev and Martyn Burke, the producers of the controversial PBS documentary “Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center” currently airing on more than 20 PBS stations nationwide.

SEE: Racist Group Linked to PBS ‘Moderate Muslims’ Documentary (CAIR)
SEE ALSO: Wash. Times Promotes Hate Group that Would Outlaw Islam (CAIR)

In a March 2, 2006, article for The American Spectator, Yerushalmi wrote: “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization. . .The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.”

“Those who advocate racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, or anti-Semitic views can have no beneficial role in reasoned public debate on issues of importance to our society,” said CAIR-NY Civil Rights Coordinator Aliya Latif.

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

ARTICLES ABOUT THIS INCIDENT (most recent at top)

The great Islamophobic Crusade, Max Blumenthal http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/19/opinion/main7166626.shtml  12/10

Federal Panel Finds Bias in Ouster of Principal http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/nyregion/13principal.html  3/12/10

Some Speech Is More Free Than Others (documentary “Shouting Fire”) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/arts/television/29shout.html?ref=television  6/28/09

Complex Feelings in Brooklyn’s Mix, Kareem Fahim http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/05/nyregion/05bayridge.html  10/4/08

Belated reply to Phil Orenstein about Debbie Almontaser and the KGIA, Dane Vera http://dvera.wordpress.com/2008/09/21/phil-orenstein/  9/21/08

Silenced in the classroom: it was to have been the country’s first public school teaching Arabic and English Today, the Khalil Gibran International Academy is mired in fear and tension http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-190116925.html  9/1/08

Lieberman’s Very Serious Muslim-Bashing Senate Report, Chip Berlet http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chip-berlet/liebermans-muslim-bashing_b_101074.html  5/9/08

Daniel Pipes’ Witch Hunt at a Public School http://www.smearcasting.com/case_pipes.html  5/08

Right-Wing Witch Hunts, Then and Now: Debbie Almontaser and Hallie Flanagan http://www.zmag.org/zmag/viewArticle/17517  5/08

Smearing Muslims, Eboo Patel http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/eboo_patel/2008/05/smearing_muslims.html  5/08

Suit Accuses Ex-Principal of Defamation, Andrea Elliott http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/17/nyregion/17arabic.html  5/17/08

Daniel Pipes v. Religious Tolerance, Gershom Gorenberg http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gershom-gorenberg/daniel-pipes-v-religious_b_99432.html  4/30/08

Debbie Almontaser and the Arab culture school- victims of the proxy battle over Israel and Palestine, Cecile Surasky http://www.muzzlewatch.com/2008/04/28/nyt-article-and-open-letter-debbie-almontaser-and-the-arab-culture-school-victims-of-the-proxy-battle-over-israel-and-palestine/  4/28/08

VIDEO INTERVIEW:  Ousted NYC Arabic School Principal Debbie Almontaser Speaks Out on the New McCarthyism & Rightwing Media Attacks http://www.democracynow.org/2008/4/29/broadcast_exclusiveousted_nyc_arabic_school_principal  4/29/08

VIDEO:  Battle Over a Brooklyn School http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/04/28/nyregion/20080428_SCHOOL_VIDEO.html#  4/28/08

Critics Cost Muslim Educator Her Dream School, Andrea Elliott http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/28/nyregion/28school.html  4/28/08

Open Letter to the Jewish Community re KGIA http://kgia.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/press-release-april-23/  4/23/08

Open Letter from Educators in Support of the Khalil Gibran International Academy and Principal Debbie Almontaser to Michael Bloomberg and Joel Klein http://kgia.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/open-letter-from-educators-in-support-of-the-khalil-gibran-international-academy-and-principal-debbie-almontaser-to-michael-bloomberg-and-joel-klein/  4/2/08

Debbie Almontaser v. NYC Dep’t of Educ.  Appeals Court Document http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/almontaser_opinion.pdf  3/20/08

Debbie Almontaser Receives Peacemaker Award from Pax Christi http://kgia.wordpress.com/2008/03/16/debbie-almontaser-receives-peacemaker-award/ 3/16/08

Principal of Arabic School Sues City http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/20/nyregion/20mbrfs-speech.html  11/20/07

VIDEO:  Debbie Almontaser Accepts JFREJ Risk-Taker Award http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEMdvTKPp4k 11/8/07

Debbie Almontaser Speaks Out http://shuka.wordpress.com/2007/10/26/debbie-almontaser-speaks-out/  10/26/07

Former Khalil Gibran Arabic Academy Principal Seeks Reinstatement http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/former_khalil_gibran_arabic_academy_principal_seeks_reinstatement/  10/18/07

Arabic School Ex-Principal Fights to Get Job Back http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/17/education/17principal.html  10/17/07

The Crime Against Debbie Almontaser, Robert Hirschfield http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3332/the_crime_against_debbie_almontaser/ 9/13/07

Fears of Arab school in New York unjustified, Anisa Mehdi http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/fears_of_arab_school_in_new_york_unjustified/ 9/9/07

Little Rock in the Big Apple, Zahed Amanullah http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/b/2591/  9/7/07

A principal ousted for what she didn’t say: a post-9/11 story http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_36_43/ai_n27375926/  9/7/07

Khalil Gibran School one of 70 dual language public schools in New York http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9767809 9/6/07

New York’s first Arabic school opens under police guard http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gguNcON4AgCQ4Jf-KmUJANEYWbZQ  9/4/07

Despite controversy, classes start at city’s first Arabic school http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/education/schools&id=5633290  9/4/07

The Right-Wing’s War on the Gibran Academy: Arabic as a Terrorist Language, Anthony DiMaggio http://www.counterpunch.org/dimaggio08302007.html  8/30/07

Critics Ignored Record of a Muslim Principal http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/29/education/29education.html  8/29/07

Critic of Khalil Gibran Arabic School in NY Accused of Anti-Semitism http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/critic_of_khalil_gibran_arabic_school_in_ny_accused_of_anti_semitism/  8/27/07

Universal Faith, Noah Feldman http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/magazine/26wwln-lede-t.html?ref=magazine  8/26/07

Let Arabs tell the truth, Bradley Burston http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/896351.html  8/24/07

Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) on Debbie Almontaser’s Resignation and the targeting of the Kahlil Gibran International Academy http://www.jfrej.org/JFREJpositionDebbieAlmontaser.htm  8/23/07

Another NY rabbi calls campaign against Arab school principal Debbie Almontaser “the lowest of McCarthyite tactics.”  http://www.muzzlewatch.com/2007/08/22/another-ny-rabbi-calls-campaign-against-arab-school-principal-debbie-almontaser-the-lowest-of-mccarthyite-tactics/  8/27/07

U.S. rabbi defends N.Y. Arab school despite charges it will be anti-Israel http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/895796.html  8/21/07

Khalil Gibran School Principal, Debbie Almontaser, Was a Casualty of Fear, Mona Eltahawy http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/khalil_gibran_school_principal_debbie_almontaser_was_a_casualty_of_fear/ 8/21/07

High-tech lynching” What rabbi calls campaign against Muslim principal http://www.muzzlewatch.com/2007/08/18/rabbi-calls-campaign-against-muslim-principal-high-tech-lynching/  8/18/07

New Khalil Gibran School Principal Danielle Salzberg is a Zionist http://www.nypost.com/seven/0815200/news/regionalnews/islam_prof_is_zion_hearted_regionalnews_chuck_bennett_and_john_mazor.htm 8/15/07

An Arab American’s Pocket Political Dictionary, Russell Mokhiber http://www.counterpunch.org/mokhiber08152007.html  8/15/07

Principal at New NYC Arabic-Language School Forced to Resign http://www.democracynow.org/2007/8/13/principal_at_new_nyc_arabic_language  8/13/07

International Academy Controversy Leaves Arab American Community Vulnerable, Eman Ahmed http://www.arabisto.com/article.cfm?articleID=729  8/11/07

Critics of Khalil Gibran School Unfairly Target Islam, Arabic Culture, Raanan Geberer http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=10&id=12879  5/07

Not Always As Sweet, Debbie Almontaser http://www.gothamgazette.com/commentary/107.almontaser.shtml

Showdown in Brooklyn: Debbie Almontaser, former head of New York’s Khalil Gibran School, talks to Tahira Muhammad for The Middle East
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Showdown+in+Brooklyn:+Debbie+Almontaser,+former+head+of+New+York’s…-a0202487216

The War on Academic Freedom, Kristine McNeil http://www.thenation.com/doc/20021125/mcneil  11/11/02


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